Friday, December 21, 2007

Tales of a leveling warrior

I've been working on my Warrior for about a week now and it's been an interesting experience.

He's now level 27 and as I was hoping, he's already run a lot of instances. Within the past few days, I have received spontaneous whispers to run WC, BFD, SFK and RFD, which I was all too happy to accept. I don't know about you, but this never happened to me on any other character except maybe my Priest (but that was long ago: now that Shamans and Druids have had their healing power buffed quite a bit, Priests are no longer the exclusive healers of way back then).

I make a point of never turning down an offer to run an instance since 1) it's good practice for tanking and 2) the experience is too good to pass up, even with the new accelerated xp.

As for leveling speed, the boost is definitely noticeable. I'm still following Joana's powerleveling guide but I now have the added comfort of being able to skip quite a few quests whenever I feel like it (which is especially convenient for these elite quests that Joana solo'ed with his hunter but which cannot realistically be done with any other class except for a Lock). Add instance runs to the picture and I'm leveling so fast it doesn't even feel like a grind any more.

It's quite funny to see that even without trying, my Warrior is already decked up in blues to the point that I've wondered about hitting the BG as a true twink, but then I realized I would have to run... ohnoes.

Can't wait to get this guy to Outland.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Blizzard backstabs Rogues... again

More changes are coming up for Rogues in the next patch...
  • Hemorrhage: This ability now correctly does additional damage when its debuff has already been applied.
  • Preparation now resets the cooldown of Shadowstep and no longer resets the cooldown of Adrenaline Rush.
  • Shadowstep now adds a 3 second, 70% movement speed increase.
  • Sinister Calling now also increases the percentage damage bonus of Hemorrhage and Backstab by 2/4/6/8/10%.
I'm getting increasingly irritated by the way Blizzard keeps changing their mind about Rogues. Just when a spec is finally being acknowledged as being decently powerful for the Arena ("HARP": Hemo, Adrenaline Rush and Preparation), Blizzard decides that the very popularity of this build was not intended and changes it... again.

From their own admission, they want the entire Subtlety tree to become viable, and they didn't like the fact that players decided to only go as far as Hemorrhage and stop there to pick damages in other trees that, you know, actually do damage.

I don't understand this logic at all.

Yes, the Subtlety tree has long been ignored and is universally considered inferior to Combat and Assassination, and it does sadden me a bit since one of the main traits of a Rogue *is* to be subtle, but I think it's impossible to reconcile this goal with the expectation that a Rogue is first and foremost a very strong DPS class. Rogues are expected to deal a lot of damage, and buffing stealth or speeding up our mobility is not going to help us at all in raid and not that much in the Arena.

Also, while I understand the important of constantly rebalancing the classes as months go by to keep everyone interested, it seems to me Arena Rogues are given quite a run around by Blizzard. Is there any other class that has had to relearn from scratch the way they fight in the Arena from one patch to the other?

I love my Rogue, but Blizzard is making me hate the class more every day.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Rogue openers in the Arena

Since I haven't been able to find anything discussing in details how to open a fight as a Rogue in the Arena, I thought I'd post a few thoughts on the subject.

As an AR/Prep/Hemo Rogue, I basically have a choice between three (most of the time, two) openers: 1) Sap, 2) Ambush, 3) Garrote and 4) Cheap Shot.


Sap seems to be the best way to open because you remain stealthed and it disables your opponent for a few seconds. When sapped, a good player will first try to assess the situation of his other teammates, and if the fight hasn't started yet, they are better off just "eating" the sap (not doing anything about it) than trinketing out of it (a good way to see if the player is experienced is to see if they trinket out of it right away). With the Dirty Trick talent, the Sap range is greatly extended so it's definitely worth a shot.

The best use of Sap in my experience is when you happen to walk past a stealthed target. Since he's most likely seeing you as well then, you have to be faster and sap him as soon as you hear the "swooshing sound" of a stealthed target walking near you. You absolutely need to resist the urge to Cheap Shot and hit Sap instead, so while you are stealthed, you should always keep your fingers on both keys and be ready to hit the right one (they are mapped to 1 and 2 on my Bongos bars).

Unfortunately, Sap is not an option most of the time since your opponents will be in combat, which leads me to your second option.


Ambush deals some reasonable damage and I've seen it crit in the 1700-1900 range with my current gear. However, it requires you to be behind your target and to have a dagger in main hand, so I configured Outfitter to switch to Malchazeen when I'm stealthed but back to Merciless swords otherwise.

Overall, the only times I've ever used Ambush on a target is when they were very low on health, but it's a very rare occurrence (how often do you happen to be stealthed and one of your opponents is almost dead?). And even so, I still think that Cheap Shot is a safer move since you can probably deal the same amount of damage on a Cheap Shot target with your regular attacks (especially if the rest of your team is also focus firing them).

(Update: Since switching weapons triggers the global cooldown and that Ambush doesn't seem to be very useful in the Arena, I'll probably get rid of the weapon switching, stick to swords everywhere and never use Ambush in the Arena again. Garrote seems to be a better alternative)


Garrote is probably better than Ambush as an opener because it will silence casters for a few seconds and it also scales with AP. With a few well-timed Garrote/CheapShot/Kick and Gouge, you can silence a casters for quite a while.

Cheap Shot

This leaves us with Cheap Shot, which is, I believe, what you should be using most of the time as your opener. Crowd control is extremely important in the Arena, more so than the burst damage that you can gain with Ambush. On top of that, Cheap Shot grants you two combo points and doesn't have any positional requirements.

In the next post, I'll discuss the next phase of the fight: what rotation you should use in order to inflict as much burst damage on your target as possible in the early phase of the fight.